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Training the next generation of police officers during a time of gun violence

Posted at 11:10 AM, Jul 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-06 12:10:05-04

BRYAN, Texas — As Zach Tamayo, a cadet at the Bryan Police Academy would tell you, the road to law enforcement isn’t always a clear path.

“Everybody thinks, talks, walks differently, but it's very critical to be willing to work with people,” he said. “I remember thinking exactly, I will not ever do anything like this.”

Tamayo began his career in law enforcement working in corrections in Montgomery County, looking for any way he could help people.

“Even if [criminals] were people that had done bad things or made wrong choices, [I enjoy] still working with them because their problems were still just as valid.”

While he loved the county, he still longed for that small-town feel.

That’s when he landed a job in Bryan.

“It’s been awesome,” he said with a smile.

He’s part of about 15 other cadets in this recruiting class.

“The people that we look for are of high caliber,” Lt. Walt Melnyk, a commander of support services with the department stated.

From physical training in the mornings to hours of studying throughout the afternoon, Melnyk says these men and women are the best of the best.

“That's what we want to instill in our future police officers,” he said. “That's the generation that we're bringing up.”

As gun violence crimes rise across the country, security is at the forefront of many people’s minds, all while police officer shortages continue to plague many rural departments.

“We'll have our manpower on the street to ensure that our citizens feel safe,” Melnyk said.

Part of that up-and-coming manpower is Tamayo, who’s said he’s ready to serve the Bryan community.

“That's the only way that we as a community as a whole, not just police, not just citizens, but like together are going to actually change overall,” he ended.